Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Chief Organizer at Work

Wade Rathke is pretty darned inspiring.  He started one of the most successful organizing groups in U.S. history, ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), when he was just out of college, and over its 40-year history, the organization led drives for fair housing, fair wages, voter registration, and more.  And despite having to shut ACORN down under political and financial pressure (in part because of defunding by the government) in 2010, Rathke still believes in the power of organizing and continues his work, much of it now international.

He's also still involved with social issues in the U.S., and his book Citizen Wealth lays out a clear analysis of what people need to achieve income stability, the obstacles they face, and strategies for addressing those challenges.  Along with the ideas, what comes through in the book is Wade's ongoing belief that people working together can make a difference.  In the face of decades of being involved in the ups and downs of public and business policies that seem to be incredibly able to perpetuate and expand inequality, he writes forcefully and optimistically about the possibility of social, economic, and political change.

Wade spoke as part of YSU's Center for Working-Class Studies lecture series. I had to break the talk into several sections, but here are links:

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Audience Questions

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